If you have not read the first part of this discussion and wish to do so now, click The Posttribulation Rapture
PRETRIBULATIONISTS OBJECTIONS TO THE POSTTRIBULATION RAPTURE
a. Dispensationalism and posttrib.
Pretribs often ask how the church can be present during the 70th week of Daniel, since the church was not present during the first 69 weeks. They think posttribs cannot distinguish between the church and Israel.
We do make this distinction and offer the following arguments to answer this objection.
(1) The church now occupies the predicted time of Israel's dispersion,
so God is dealing with the church and Israel (bringing Israel back into the land in the church age) at the same time. In like manner He could continue to work with both the church and Israel during the 70th week of Daniel. The church had not been in existence in the first 69 weeks so to require it's presence then is not reasonable. But, the church has existed since Pentecost and no prophecy requires that it not be on earth during the 70th week.
(2) Although the church is unique, it is still united with believers of all ages in several ways.
(a) We share a city.
(b) We are founded on Old Testament prophets
(c) All believers are sons of Abraham
(d) Old Testament believers are not made perfect without us, so why should we expect to be made perfect seven years (or three and one half years or even one day) before them?
(e) Both Old Testament and 70th week martyrs along with the church will reign with Christ for 1000 years.
Pretribs say that the rapture is imminent but the second coming is not. So they must be two separate events. Posttribs respond as follows:
(1) Imminence is not implied in commands to watch because many commands to watch apply to the second coming, which is not imminent.
(2) If the early church believed in imminence as defined by pretribs today, they were mistaken because they had to wait for:
(a) Peter's binding and death at an old age.
(b) The gospel to be carried to the remotest part of the earth.
(c) The promise that the kingdom of God wouldn't appear immediately.
If the early church couldn't believe in imminence because of necessarily intervening events, neither can we.
(3) Both pre- and posttribs believe Christ may call us home personally in death at any time, so the argument that imminence is needed to encourage godly living is nullified.
Pretribs almost always misunderstand posttribs regarding the day of the Lord's return. So they refute "straw men" instead of the real posttrib position. Here is how the question was posed recently.
"Posttrib denies the unknown date of Christ's return. For example, if there were to be a peace treaty for 7 years signed tommorrow morning, well, then I guess I could mark on my calender exactly 2520 days later, and know that will be the day that Christ returns."
First let's be clear that this is equally a problem for pretrib because
says, "But of that day and hour no one knows...." This is clearly in the context of the coming of Christ after the tribulation.
"But immediately after the tribulation of those days"...Christ will come. There is no break in the context leading to verse 36 and that coming after the tribulation is the coming of which we cannot know the day and hour. So both pre and posttribs are told we will not know the day and hour of the second coming.
But posttrib at least has an answer to this objection. If you look at my time line of future events you will see that the second coming does not occur on the last day of the great tribulation.
The two witnesses lie dead in the streets for at least three and one half days after the 1260 days of their ministry.
The context (following the discussion of gentiles trampling the temple for 42 months) and other uses of the 1260 day time period here applied to the two witnesses, supports the premise that Rev 11:3 is talking about the same 1260 days as all other references which speak of the 1260 days-the second half of Daniel's 70th week. For certainly the gentiles will trample on the temple during the worst half (42 months) of Daniel's 70th week.
And the "woman" of
will be hid during the worst half of Daniel's 70th week, for why hide during the "easier half" and be persecuted during the worst half.
And the antichrist will have authority to overcome saints for 1260 days
during the worst half of the 70th week.
shows that there is a period of time AFTER the 1260 days of the second half of Daniel's 70th week is over but (apparently) before the millennium begins, and it is sometime during this extra 75 day time period that His coming will occur.
Dr Gundry poses an alternate explaination, that the tribulation is "cut short" so the day or hour will not be known.
In either case, posttrib does not teach that we can know the exact day and hour of the Lord's return and having the impression that it does is simply a misunderstanding of the posttrib position.
Pretribs argue that since the church is promised to be saved from God's wrath and that God's wrath is poured out during the trib, the church cannot be present at that time.
The posttrib response is that we agree that neither the church, nor any believer of any age, is subject to God's wrath during the tribulation time. (To quote Dr Gundry, "Washed white in the blood of the Lamb, yet suffering the wrath of God because they missed a pretrib rapture. Is that what we're supposed to think about them?" From "First the Antichrist" page 49) There will be people saved during the 70th week and we would not expect these believers to be subject to God's wrath in light of the promise in
"He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." General tribulation is promised the church now but this is not God's wrath. So the tribulational character of the 70th week does not militate against the presence of the church. The church, and all who believe in Jesus never are subject to God's wrath. So posttribs agree with pretribs that the church will not experience God's wrath. Generally,pretribs reluctant will agree that tribulation saints do not "directly" experience God's wrath.
Thus, posttribs agree that the church is exempt from the wrath of God but that this exemption is as it has always been, in the time of Noah, or Lot, protection from Divine wrath poured out on the earth while they are still on the earth. (Believers are never said to be protected from Satan's wrath, but that the antichrist will be permitted to overcome them.)
And pretribs generally agree that believers during the trib are exempt from the wrath of God. So the presence of believers on earth during the trib shows that those believers may be members of the church.
Having God's wrath poured out on earth during the trib does not require the absence of the church to satisfy the promises of exemption from wrath.
Further support is gained from a study of
where divine wrath is specifically said to only strike the wicked.
This does not prove posttrib, but removes a major misunderstanding of the posttrib view, that the church by its presence in the trib will experience God's wrath.
e. The church in the book of Revelation
Pretribs argue that the word "church" does not appear in a significant portion of the book of Revelation, therefore it must be in heaven.
(1) The term "church" does not appear in tribulational passages with an earthly setting but it also does not appear in passages that describe heavenly scenes during the 70th week.
(2) Inferences (like the 24 elders) can be found for both sides. For example John, a member of the church, was persecuted "because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus,"
and tribulation saints are persecuted for exactly the same reason.
(3) Pretribs often ask, "Why would God keep the church on earth during the terrible days of the tribulation?" The answer is, "for the same reason that He keeps the church on earth today: to be the objects and witnesses of God's saving grace to a dying world."
talks about an innumerable multitude of believers from "every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues" who come out of the great tribulation. Where do all these believers come from if, just a few years before, every believer had been raptured? Revelation records not a single conversion! In fact, when discussing the people's response to the first six trumpets and several of the bowls, John says they "did not repent."
#Rev 9.20-21, Rev 16.9-11
This is not to say there will be no conversions at all during the 70th week. But today, after nearly 2000 years of evangelistic outreach we still have not won people from every tribe and tongue. Yet pretribulationists believe that in seven years starting with no converts at all (except possibly the 144,000 Jewish bond-servants, who are never said to be evangelists, or the two witnesses of Rev. 11), the greatest evangelistic outreach in the history of mankind will occur. This will happen in spite of what most pretribulationists believe, that those who heard the gospel prior to the rapture will not repent during the tribulation because
"...they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness."
A more reasonable explanation for this innumerable multitude is that they are the martyrs of the church whom the Antichrist has murdered during the 70th seek.f. Pretribs claim that the Olivet Discourse ( Matt 24-25) only relates to Israel.
We maintain that the Olivet Discourse relates to both the church and Israel.
(1) Context - God's rejection of Israel
(2) The apostles to whom it is spoken are representatives of the church.
(3) Precursive fulfillment is in the church age (70 A.D.).
g. Pretribs often say that John 14:1-6 supports their position.
However, comparing this with Rev. 22:15 we see that
Christ brings our rewards, which certainly would include the mansions, WITH Him at His return. If pretrib is correct, He must first meet us in the air with the mansions and the rest of our rewards, then return to heaven for seven years, complete the Bema seat judgment after which He would give us our rewards, and finally move us and our mansions down to earth again at the second coming for the millennium. If posttrib is correct, He brings the mansions with Him at the rapture. Since we are no longer bound by the dimension of time after the rapture, He instantly judges us and descends to earth with us and the mansions to set up the millennial reign. Thus the posttrib view makes better sence of the promise that He will bring His rewards with Him. We would expect according to the pretrib view that He would just rapture us (without bringing the rewards along), take us to heaven and, after the Bema seat judgment occurs during the 70th week, give us our rewards at that time. He would not bring the rewards to the meeting in the air and carry them back to heaven to be distributed later at the 7th trumpet.
Once again the posttrib view is more reasonable.
h. Pretribs often ask, "Who will enter the Millennium if all the church is raptured at the second coming and all the wicked are taken away in judgment?" I believe there are four possible groups. First, the Bible tells us that all Israel will be saved as the deliverer comes from Zion.
#Isa 66.8, Zech 12.10, Rom 11.26
I believe this refers to those Jews who miss the rapture because they are not believers, but will be saved as they see Christ descending in the clouds. Thus they enter the millennium in unglorified bodies. If Jews are saved as they see Christ descend, I believe some gentiles may also be saved at that last moment before He returns to earth. This would be the second possible group to enter the millennium. The third group that might enter the millennial kingdom is young children of believers and retarded people (before the "age of accountability" who may be healed in the millennium) whose parents were taken in the rapture. The fourth group would be young children of unbelievers whose parents are taken in judgment.
The latter two suggestions answer a question that I have not heard pretribs answer (except that all babies are raptured). That question is, "What happens to the unsaved young children of believers who are raptured before the 70th week? Are these precious children left to fend for themselves or be adopted by non-Christian parents during the 70th week?"
i. Pretribs also ask, "What about the judgment of the nations in Matt 25:31-46? Doesn't this occur before the Millennium? If a posttrib rapture had just happened, who would be the sheep to enter the millennium and the goats to be cast out?"
The answer is that this judgment happens after the Millennium because those who are goats are sent into "the ETERNAL fire".
This clearly cannot take place at the beginning of the millennium. The context and a careful reading of the passage, comparing it with
requires that it take place after the millennium: No one is cast into the eternal fire until after the millennium.
"He will sit on His glorious throne" (for 1000 years) "and all the nations will be gathered...." Just as there was a 2000 year gap that many Old Testament passages ignore, here there must be a 1000 year gap before this judgment since those rejected are cast into ETERNAL punishment.
Another line of reasoning shows that Matthew 24-25 reveals a definite chronological progression from the events of 70 A.D. to the 70th week and Christ's second coming. So it is reasonable for chapter 25 to end with an event that takes us past the millennium and to the eternal state. A third evidence that this takes place after the millennium comes from a comparison of
There is a virtually exact duplicate of the phrase "glorious throne" in Matt. 19:28, which has the disciples simultaneously "judging" (ruling over) the twelve tribes of Israel. If the disciples are judging the twelve tribes of Israel, this would not be before the millennium, because the twelve disciples (and we) rule or "reign with Christ for a thousand years"
j. Another objection to the posttrib position has been that posttribs are looking for the antichrist, and not Jesus Christ.
I am a posttrib and I am looking for Christ to come,
but before He comes I am told to "Let no one in any way deceive (me) for it (the DOTL and our gathering together to Him which occurs at His coming) will not come until ...the man of lawlessness is revealed...who opposes and exalts himself above every so called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God." Read over
You will see that this was written to the church (at Thessalonica) to describe the antichrist so that by that description of him and his actions (which include events that occur in the middle of Daniel's 70th week) they, and we, will recognize him.
k. One question raised by pretribbers is regarding the 24 elders. They state that they must represent the raptured, glorified church because they wear crowns and have white robes.
Posttribers respond as follows:
We do not know for sure who they are because the Bible does not say. They may represent the church, or the church plus Israel (12 apostles plus 12 tribes) or they may represent the redeemed of all time or they may be spirit beings like the 4 creatures with which they are so closely associated.
Two elders interact with John as his guides and interpreters
just as some angels do. Compare
They are contrasted with redeemed human beings in
which in the best manuscripts has "And didst purchase with Thy blood men...and Thou hast made THEM (not us-24 elders) a kingdom and priests to our God and THEY (not we-the 24 elders) will reign upon the earth."
That they are not necessarily rapture and glorified saints from the church alone, consider the following:
Non resurrected, non glorified martyrs have white robes
Non human beings have crowns (stephanous)
and has been shown already.
Rewards for all believers are not given until the 7th trumpet
"and the time too give their reward to Thy bond servants the prophets and to the SAINTS AND TO THOSE WHO FEAR THY NAME...".
They sit on 24 individual thrones, but the church is promised to sit with Christ on His throne,
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
To see the completion of this page and how I have harmonized this posttribulation rapture view with other end time events, click time line.
To view sections of the time line, click A-K below.
|Dan 70th Week||Seal 144,000||Trumpets Begin||Begin Great Trib||End Trib||Just Before DOTL||Begin DOTL||Begin Millennium||7 yrs into Millennium||End Millennium||Eternal State|
To view some questions for those who believe in the prewrath version of the posttribulation rapture click Questions for Prewrathers.
To view some arguments for eternal security, click eternal security.
To e-mail any questions or comments, click firstname.lastname@example.org.
To go back to the beginning of these notes, click The Posttribulation Rapture.
Until He comes,
Dan Dudley, O.D.